According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, Connecticut has become the first state to require most employers to provide paid sick leave for workers. Legislators approved the paid sick-leave bill earlier this week, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy before going into effect at the start of 2012.

The article states:

Connecticut’s bill has a limited scope.  Thelegislation only requires that service-sector employers with more than 50 workers provide paid sick-leave. The bill only covers hourly workers; employees would get one hour of sick leave for ever 40 hours worked, with a limit of 5 sick days per year. (Employees must have worked at least 10 hours per week during the previous quarter to qualify.) The legislation exempts manufacturers, nonprofits,  as well as salaried workers, independent contractors, temporary workers and day laborers.

Still, the measure is estimated to cover some 200,000 to 400,000 workers, including waiters, cashiers, fast-food cooks, hair stylists, security guards and nursing home aides, the New York Times reports.

San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Milwaukee have passed mandatory paid sick-leave legislation in the recent years.  California and Massachusetts have similar legislation pending, as do Philadelphia and Denver.

Some business groups  oppose the legislation, saying it places undue burdens on employers, especially during tough economic times when many companies are struggling.  The Connecticut Business and Industry Association, for instance, released a statement calling the legislation a “blow to our economy and Connecticut’s business community.”

Advocates for working families, however, praised the legislation. Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, a national consortium of state organizations working for paid family leave policies, said in a statement that such legislation is crucial “so that taking care of yourself or a loved one will not cost anyone a paycheck or a job.”

Some 40 million American workers – and more than 80% of low-wage workers— don’t “have a single paid sick day to recover from illness or care for their families,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, which supported the legislation. Some workers are even penalized for taking sick leaves, as we’ve posted before.

Readers, does your company offer sick leave? Would you support legislation mandating paid sick leave? Or do you think it’s too burdensome on businesses, especially during this economy? What’s the best way for companies to manage employees’ sick days?  Do you find yourself taking sick leave? If you didn’t have it, but got sick, would you go into work anyway?